Termite damage costs homeowners across the U.S. over $5 billion each year, and business owners are by no means immune. When trying to identify termites on your business property, the first thing to know is that there are two types to watch out for: subterranean and drywood. Let's look at the differences between them.
Drywood termites can be split up into three groups: workers, soldiers, and swarmers. The average drywood termite grows to about 1/2 inch in length and vary in color from red (swarmers) to creamy white (most workers and soldiers). Each boasts two sets of wings, and they fly from here to there in search of dry wood to feed on as well as nest in. For this reason, they often migrate to the attic and infest walls, picture frames, and furniture.
In case you find damaged wood, you should know that these termites eat both along and against the grain and have no preference between soft and hard spots. The most telling sign of their presence is if you find a pile of frass - pellet-like droppings of a tan or dark brown color - underneath the damaged wood.
Subterranean termites are similar in color to the drywood kind but smaller: about 1/4 inch in length. They live and breed in moist soil, tunneling up to feed on wet, decayed wood at the foundation. Since they can't survive without soil, they'll create mud tubes - made from soil, feces, and saliva and about as wide as pencils - to facilitate their journey upwards. These tubes are the first major sign of an invasion.
Subterranean termites eat along the grain and leave the hard, dark-colored spots alone. Since they don't dwell in the wood, they'll quickly hollow it out and move on to another structure. Besides hollowing out wood, these pests can create moisture and make your paint bubble and your floors buckle or swell. They like to target walls, especially thin ones made of materials like chipboard, and puncture them with holes.
When swarming time comes, they develop alates, or winged termites. They shed their wings after reproducing; if you find a floor full of these on your property, then you know there's trouble. Seeing the alates themselves as they emerge on warm days is proof of an infestation.
Inspecting your business property can be easy to do yourself. For example, you can tap on your wood structures to listen for hollow noises, check the ground for frass, insect wings, and mud tubes, and even take a knife and make incisions into wood structures that you suspect are infested. Once you discover signs of an invasion, though, you'll want to bring a professional over as soon as possible.
Termagon has worked on almost every type of commercial property from schools to hospitals to warehouses, and we're thorough when it comes to inspections. We'll give you a free estimate on our treatments, which range from baiting systems for subterranean termites to fumigation for drywood termites, so call us today!